Citizen Watch UK describes British retail and watch market conditions as “challenging” for a second consecutive year in its 2018 accounts published at Companies House this week.
Despite the challenges, the company says it is pleased to report sales of £25.6 million, a 1.7% rise from 2017 sales of £25.2 million.
Operating profit more than halved from £955,000 in 2017 to £417,000 in 2018.
Investment in transforming the business into a multi brand operation was given as the reason for the decline in profitability, including the opening of a new office in Woking and improvements to the group’s warehousing facilities.
Citizen says it has maintained a high level of marketing spend, developed its CRM platform and increased investment in public relations and advertising. It has also invested in point of sale presentation materials and branded shop in shop installations.
Citizen Watch UK added Frederique Constant to its P&L in 2017 and Bulova in 2018 and a statement accompanying its accounts says both brands enjoyed significant market share increases as distribution and investment levels increased.
Citizen as a standalone watch business, “continues to strengthen its core market share,” its accounts state.
“Our latest GfK figures show, again, we are taking more market share as we did last year,” adds Mark Robinson, Citizen Watch UK managing director, in a statement to WatchPro.
Alpina, which was acquired along with Frederique Constant in 2016, will start increasing its contribution to Citizen Watch UK’s operation this year. The brand is launching nationally with Ernest Jones this month. “This is another exciting development in the group’s multi brand strategy, and already Alpina has started well,” Mr Robinson reveals.
The company is also benefiting from its continuing commitment to Baselworld, grabbing greater attention as a slew of rival brands have pulled out.
“Basel 2019 — in all my years this will go down as the one of the best ever. The positivity and confidence in what we are doing was clear to see. All-in-all, the brand teams did a fantastic job and everyone’s effort was rewarded with the results and feedback we achieved,” Mr Robinson tells WatchPro.